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Hills Hoist Studios Opening

It's had former lives as a second-hand shop, a brothel and a boarding house, but now the property adjoining Mayfair Gallery will be a home for local and visiting artists.

By Kylie Stevenson

Newly created Hills Hoist Studios – a collaboration between David Collins from Mayfair Gallery and Britt Guy from Accomplice – offers studio space and a venue for Top End arts events inside an old-school high-set Darwin house, close to the centre of the city.

“There aren’t many art spaces left in the city that have that old Darwin vibe, with indoor-outdoor space,” Collins says. 

“If I was to bring artists up from Melbourne to do a residency, I don’t want to offer them a ware-house-style concrete box.

"I want them to look out the louvred window and see frangipani trees. I want them to have the full Darwin experience.”

For locals, it also offers the opportunity to be around other artists, with access to the outdoor area and gallery space.

Collins and Guy came up with the name after Accomplice held a cooking workshop in the garden area.

“There was this diverse bunch of men cooking around a barbecue and they were all nerding out on this vintage Hills Hoist in the yard,” Collins explains. 

“They wanted to dig it up and relocate it. But I’m quite attached to it and the name for the studio came to us from that. A Hills Hoist holds different things and is Aussie without being patriotic.”

A diverse range of artists already occupy the space, with Accomplice, Mayfair, paint and mural business Proper Creative, and Larrakeyah artist Shaun Lee all calling it home.

Guy says the studio space is open to any independent artist working outside of an organised structure, and is available for hire or as part of a residency program.

“It’s about fostering the talent of independent artists,” she says.

Hills Hoist Studios has hosted cooking workshops, textiles workshops and the launch of the Darwin Fringe Festival. It will hold workshops and events involving food throughout the Fringe.


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